« ZurückWeiter »
(a) Josiah ordered the passover to be kept as written in the book. “And there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel,
nor of the kings of Judah." In order to celebrate the passover with so much solemnity, the entire Pentateuch would be required; because the principal law respecting that feast is in Ex. xii. 1-20, and Num. xxviii. 16-25; whereas the particulars respecting it in Deuteronomy are fewer (xvi. 1-8).
(6) The curses in the newly-found book (2 Chron. xxxiv. 24) could not be exhausted by those in Deut. xxvii. 14-26, xxviii. 15-68. Josiah must also have read the shorter imprecations in Lev. xxvi. 14-45, because of the 30th verse of Lev. xxvi. compared with 2 Kings xxii. 14-16. In the former we read, “And I will cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols ;” in the latter it is said that Josiah brake in pieces the images and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men, and also that he took the bones out of the sepulchres and burned them upon the altar and polluted it. This novel mode of pollution seems to have originated from reading the book, which must have been the Pentateuch.
The preceding considerations while tending to show that Deuteronomy alone does not satisfy the conditions of the case but that the preceding books are required, point to our present Pentateuch. It is possible indeed, as some critics have thought, that the book in question consisted of a collection of laws afterwards inserted in the Pentateuch ; but this seems to be a gratuitous hypothesis. In its favour has been quoted the phrase, “all the words of the book” which were read to the assembled people (2 Kings xxiii. 2); but the term bij all should not be urged here, for the entire was not read before the people, nor even all Deuteronomy. It is acknowledged that the word all is used indefinitely in some cases. Besides, the record in Kings does not necessarily imply only one reading. In like manner the reading of the book before the king by Shaphan did not extend to the whole Pentateuch, nor to Deuteronomy itself, but was limited perhaps to the 27th and 28th chapters, provided there was but a single reading
Some have considered the fact of Josiah's total ignorance of the contents of the book as adverse to our view ; for the production appears quite new, and till then unknown. But it should be considered, that part of the book at least, viz., Deuteronomy, was new. And this was the portion which excited the chief interest, as appears from the king's words, “because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book," which refer to the expressions in Deut. xxvii. 26. The reason why the book is described in language apparently applicable to a new work is,
because attention was chiefly directed to the part which made a strong impression on the king's mind, i.e. Deuteronomy. The very way in which this work is first spoken of, " the book of the law," shews that it was not wholly unknown. Some at least of the priests and prophets were aware of its existence. During the idolatrous reign of Manasseh and his successor, it may have been put aside, and the pious may have concealed copies of it, so that it was found again and emerged from its hiding-place. If the prophetess Huldah, to whom the king sent Hiskiah and Shaphan to ascertain the time when Jehovah was about to bring disaster on the kingdom, knew the threatenings contained in the book and could accurately discourse respecting them, she must have been previously acquainted with the scope of it. We may add, that the title, "the book of the covenant,” in 2 Kings xxiii. 2, agrees best with the Pentateuch, which is accordingly termed βίβλος Or βιβλίον διαθήκης, in 1 Maccab. i. 57; and Sirach xxiv. 23.1
It has been said, that 2 Chron. xvii. 9 shews the Pentateuch to have already existed in the days of Jehoshaphat, because we read there of the priests and Levites having the book of the law of the Lord with them, as they taught in the cities of Judah. But though the Chronicle-writer probably considered the book to be the Pentateuch, we are not bound to accept his statement; for it is well known that he has transferred later phenomena to earlier times. Hence his statement cannot shake what is otherwise well-founded. The phrase nun 7 added by the Chronist to 797 ngym in speaking of the book found by Hilkiah in the temple, proves nothing as to its being Moses's
בְּתוּב with סֶפֶר need not be referred_to בְּיַד autograph; for
understood, as if the sense were, the book written by the hand of Moses; but 7 belongs to 179n, intimating that Moses was the author of the law, not of the book containing it.
Thus history makes no earlier mention of the present Pentateuch than the reign of Josiah. It had been completed shortly before ; but was put aside and disregarded till the king set about a thorough reform of Judah, when it was brought forth into the light of day and exalted to its rightful place.
We cannot agree with such as think that Hilkiah practised a fraud on this occasion, by substituting a composition of his own, or one concocted by himself and a few others. Whatever may have been the circumstances of the times, it is inconceivable that a band of theocratic patriots should have recourse to such means to supply a firm foundation for the popular belief, and at
See Grimm in the Exegetisches Handbuch zu den Apokryphen, dritte Lieferung,
the same time to increase the authority of the priesthood. Neither the whole work, nor the book of Deuteronomy, was brought forth from a place where it had been designedly put to be shewn to the king for the first time; for how could Hilkiah say to Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law,” if the whole book were really new ?
THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
I. CONTENTS.—The book of Genesis may be divided into two leading parts, viz. chapters i.-xi., and xii.-I. The first contains the history of the world before Abraham ; the latter, the history of three progenitors of the Jewish nation-Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
These two great divisions contain eleven minor parts, viz., i.-ii. 4; ii. 4-iv. 26; v. l-vi. 8; vi. 9-ix. 29; x. 1-xi. 9; xi. 10-26 ; xi. 27-xxv. 11; xxv. 12–18; XXV. 19-xxxv. 29
i xxxvi. ; xxxvii. 1-1. 26. Most of these have appropriate titles or inscriptions.
The first part contains an account of the creation of the earth. It is a mistake to suppose that the sacred writer had the visible unirerse in view. “The heavens and the earth" is a phrase equivalent to “the world,” comprehending the two parts that present themselves to observation, and for which the Old Testament has no native expression. The author commences with a cosmogony. He confines himself to the globe we inhabit. The first verse states generally the same course of action which the subsequent verses specify. We disagree with Dr. P. Smith when he affirms that the sublime sentence in i. 1, “ stands as an independent axiom at the head of the sacred volume, announcing that there was an epoch, a point in the flow of infinite duration, when the whole of the dependent world, or whatever portion of it first had existence was brought into being; and that this commencement of being was not from prëexistent materials nor by fortune, chance or accident, nor through the skill of any finite agent, but absolutely and solely by the will, wisdom, and power of the ONE and Only God. It was a creation in the proper sense, not a modelling or new-forming."! On the contrary, there is no break between the first and second verses, and should be none.
In the general proposition at the commencement, the course of action which is detailed in the following
! On the Relation between the Holy Scriptures and some parts of Geological Science, p. 270, third edition,
verses is summarily given. The condition of the earth before it was reduced to order is described as one of confusion. At the will of God however, light is produced, and the vicissitude of day and night arises. On the second day the firmament, an apparently solid substance, presented itself. On the third day the earth was separated from the waters, and so the dry ground and the seas were formed ; after which vegetation of various sorts was made to spring forth. The heavenly luminaries, the sun, moon, and constellations were created for the benefit of the inhabitants of this globe on the fourth day. On the fifth were created fishes and birds of different kinds. The work of the sixth day consisted in forming from the earth, quadrupeds, reptiles, and man, male and female. The section concludes with God's sanctifying the seventh day in memory of the glorious completion of His work (i. 1-ii. 3).
At the fourth verse of the second chapter commences a new section headed by a title or inscription. Here we have another account of creation different in its course and circumstances from the first. It has no mention of successive days or stages of
. creation ; but begins with the origin of plants as preparatory to the formation of the garden for man's abode. A river is said to have supplied the garden with water, and hence to have formed four principal streams. Animals were then made and presented before Adam that he might give them names; after which the Almighty presented the first man with a companion taken from the substance of the man himself. Subjoined is an intimation of the primeval purity of the first pair. The whole account of Eden, with its two wonderful trees and man's original nakedness, is preparatory to the following narrative where his early destiny is narrated (ii. 4-25).
In the third chapter we have an account of the fall of our first parents from the state in which they were created. The serpent tempts the woman to disregard the prohibition of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She yields to the temptation ; and at her offer the man also partakes of the fruit, and trangresses the divine law. This act is followed by a consciousness of the loss of purity. A sense of shame prompts them to hide themselves from the Almighty. But he examines and passes sentence on all,—the serpent, the woman, and the man. It is then stated that both are clothed with the skins of animals, and expelled from the garden of Eden (ii.).
The history of the fall is followed by a narrative which exhibits the deformity of sin.
. Cain and Abel, two of the children of Adam and Eve, are represented as bringing their respective offerings to God. Abel's is accepted, while Cain's is rejected. The latter murders his brother. He becomes a